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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: CELTIC STAR’S JANUARY WISH, McGEADY, McGEOUCH IN HIBS LINK, GLASGOW GIANTS’ EURO TARGET

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CRAIG GORDON hopes to get the chance to prove his qualities in the January transfer window.

The Celtic keeper, who is 37 on New Year’s Eve, is out of contract in June and has revealed there have been no talks with the club about extending his deal.

Gordon made a rare first-team appearance last night as Neil Lennon rested first-choice Fraser Forster, the hero of Hampden as the champions won their tenth successive domestic honour in picking up the Betfred League Cup with a 1-0 win over Rangers.

The Scotland international was blameless as the side lost 2-0 to Cluj in Romania as they brought down the curtain on Europa League Group E from which they had already qualified for the knock-out stages with two games still to play.

Gordon, whose last game was against Partick Thistle in September, told Sky Sports News: “I have not had any contact from Celtic, any offers, any talks whatsoever.

“I just want to play football and we will see how it progresses. But I have not spoken to them as yet.

“There are a few players in similar situations. It has been a quite a busy time with contracts at the club, getting players fixed up.

“For me, it is just about playing games and that is what I will concentrate on trying to do and give everything in training in the next few weeks to make sure I am ready if called upon and we will see where it takes us.

“I want to play as many games as I can. I am getting towards the latter years of my career. You never know that is going to happen.

“I am in the last year of my contract and January is going to be a big month and I just wanted to go out there and show that I am still capable at the highest level and give myself a chance to play more games.”

FORMER Celtic duo Aiden McGeady and Dylan McGeouch look to be heading for the Sunderland exit in the January transfer window.

And that news is bound to alert Hibs boss Jack Ross who worked with both players at the English League One outfit before being sacked in October.

Both are in the final six months of their contract with the Wearside club and are on the brink of moving on.

McGeady, 33, will be on his way after a reported training ground incident and has been banished from the first-team squad for this weekend’s crucial league meeting with Blackpool.

Stadium of Light gaffer Phil Parkinson confirmed there is no future at his club for the Republic of Ireland international star and told the Daily Record: “We’ve spoken to Aiden about January.

“It’s not one particular incident. I wanted to tell Aiden and his agent so we can plan for January as well.

“It is a big decision, but I’m confident it’s the right decision for the club. Conversations between managers and players have to stay private.

“I feel the best way forward is to find a solution and move forward in January with the players who will be here.

The one stumbling block for any interested club could be McGeady’s wages which are reported to be around £31,000-per-week which would take him out of Ross’ reach at the Edinburgh club.

The 93-times capped player left Celtic for Spartak Moscow nine years ago in a deal worth over £9million. He joined Everton in 2010 and has also had loan spells with Sheffield Wednesday and Preston before moving to Sunderland in the summer of 2017.

Also on the way out at Wearside could be ex-Hoops prospect McGeouch who hasn’t featured in a league fixture since Ross left before being named as Paul Heckingbottom’s successor last month.

The midfielder has missed the past couple of weeks with a niggling injury, but is close to a return as troubled Sunderland aim to end a seven-match winless run.
McGeouch, 26, who was signed by Ross from Hibs, will be allowed to speak to interested club next month and could agree a pre-contract.

He was linked with Aberdeen in the summer before Derek McInnes brought in Funso Ojo.

CELTIC’S defeat against Cluj in Romania and Rangers’ draw against Young Boys at Ibrox did not help Scotland’s European coefficient.

Both Glasgow sides are through to the knock-out stages of the Europa League knock-out stages, but the fact neither won – coupled with the fact Apoel Nicosia beat Sevilla – means Cyprus nudge back above Scotland into the all-important 15th place in the UEFA rankings.

Only the top 15 will be guaranteed two Champions League places for 2021/22, but the Scots still have time to turn it around.

We have two teams left, compared to Cyprus’ one, and a draw from either Celtic or Rangers in the last 32 would move Scotland back into 15th should Apoel lose both legs of their tie.

One more win and a draw would mean the Czech Republic would be overtaken, too.

 

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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